For Every Music Lover - A Series of Practical Essays on Music
by Aubertine Woodward Moore
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The prime elements of music are Melody, Harmony and Rhythm. They are perhaps as little realized as its raw materials. Melody is a well ordered succession of musical sounds, heard one at a time, and selected from a defined, accepted series, not taken at random from a heterogeneous store. Harmony is a combination of well-ordered sounds heard simultaneously, and with suitable concord, or agreement. Rhythm is measured movement, or the periodical recurrence of accent; and signifies symmetry and proportion.

Melody, unexhausted and inexhaustible, is the initial force, or, as Dr. Marx has called it, the life-blood of music. Within itself it bears the germ of harmony and rhythm. A succession of tones without harmonious and rhythmic regulation would be felt to lack something. Melody has been designated the golden thread running through the maze of tone, by which the ear is guided and the heart reached. Helmholtz styled it the essential basis of music. In a special sense, it is artistically constructed song. The creation of an expressive melody is a sure mark of genius.

Harmony arranges musical sounds with reference to their union, and is regulated by artistic and aesthetic rules and requirements. It has endless modes of transforming, inverting and intensifying its materials, thus continually affording new means of development. All the intervals and chords used in music had to be discovered, one by one. It often took more than a century to bring into a general use a chord effect introduced by some adventuresome spirit. Our scale intervals are the slowly gained triumphs of the human mind. Modern music did not emerge from the darkness of the past until harmony, as we know it, came into active being.

Both melody and harmony are controlled by rhythm. It is the master force of the musical organism. Before man was the ebb and flow of nature had its rhythm. On this elementary rhythm, the one model music finds in nature, the inventive mind of man has builded the wonderfully impressive art rhythms existing in the masterpieces of music.

Melodies are made up of smaller fragments, known as motives, phrases and periods, or sentences, all of which are judiciously repeated and varied, and derive their individuality from the characteristics of their intervals and rhythms.

A motive is the text of a musical composition, the theme of its discourse. The most simple motive, with proper handling, may grow into a majestic structure. In Beethoven's Fifth Symphony three G flats in eighth notes, followed by an E flat in a half note, form a text, as of Fate knocking at the door, which, when developed, leads to tremendous conflict ending in victory. Those notes that repeat and modify the motive and are combined under one slur constitute the phrase, which is similar to a clause in a sentence of words. A period, or sentence, in music, comprises a musical idea, complete in itself, though of a nature to produce, when united with other harmonious ideas, a perfect whole.

A simple melody is usually composed of eight measures, or some number divisible by four. There are exceptions, as in "God Save the King," our "America," of which the first part contains six measures, the second part eight.

Habit and instinct show us that no melody can end satisfactorily without some cadence leading to a note belonging to the tonic or key chord. Very often the first part of a melody will end on a note of the dominant chord, from which a progression will arise in the second part that leads satisfactorily to a concluding note in the tonic chord.

Counterpoint, literally point against point, is the art of so composing music in parts that several parts move simultaneously, making harmony by their combination. During the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the masters of counterpoint shaped the musical materials in use to-day. So anxious were they to attain perfection of form they often lost sight of the spirit which alone can give vitality to musical utterances. The great Bach infused this into his fugues, the highest manifestation of the contrapuntal, or polyphonic music of old.

Meanwhile the growth of the individual led to the growth of monophony in music, in which one voice stands out prominently, with an accompaniment of other voices. Its instrumental flower was reached in the symphony. Melody reigns supreme in monophonic music. Both the canon and the fugue form a commonwealth, in which all voices are rated alike. Viewed rightly, this suits the modern democratic instinct, and there is to-day a tendency to return to polyphonic writing. It is individuality in union. In the hands of genius it affords the most refined kind of harmony.

A thorough knowledge of counterpoint shows the mistake of regarding it merely as a dull relic of a dead past. It is a living reality that, if correctly studied, leads to a solid, dignified, flowing style, rich in design, and independent in its individuality. Counterpoint, said a critic in the London Musical News, shows the student how to make a harmonic phrase like a well-shaped tree, of which every bough, twig and leaf secures for itself the greatest independence, the fullest measure of light and air. Composer, interpreter and listener may all profit by a comprehension of counterpoint.

From its infancy modern music has been affected by two perpetually warring factors, the Classical and the Romantic. The first demands reverence for established ideals of formal beauty; the second, striking a note of revolt, compels recognition of new ideals. As in all other departments of art and life, progress in music comes through the continual conflict between the conservative and the radical forces. A position viewed as hazardous and unsuitable in one age, becomes the accepted position of the next, and those who have been denounced as musical heretics come to be regarded as musical heroes. Very often the untutored public, trusting to natural instincts, will be in advance of the learned critic in accepting some startling innovation. Old laws may pass away, new laws may come, but the eternal verities on which all manifestations of Truth and Beauty are based can never cease to be.

"The scientific laws of music are transitory, because they have been tentatively constructed during the gradual development of the musical faculty," says W. H. Hadow, in his valuable "Studies in Modern Music." "No power in man is born at full growth; it begins in germ, and progresses according to the particular laws that condition its nature. Hence it requires one kind of treatment at one stage, another at another, both being perfectly right and true in relation to their proper period. But there are behind these special rules certain psychological laws which seem, so far as we can understand them, to be coeval with humanity itself; and these form the permanent code by which music is to be judged. The reason why, in past ages, the critics have been so often and so disastrously at fault is that they have mistaken the transitory for the permanent, the rules of musical science for the laws of musical philosophy."

An acquaintance with form as the manifestation of law is essential to an intelligent hearing of music. The listener should have at least a rudimentary knowledge of musical construction from the simplest ballad to the most complex symphony. Having this knowledge it will be possible to receive undisturbed the impressions music has to give, and to distinguish the trivial and commonplace from the noble and beautiful.

The oftener good music is heard the more completely it will be appreciated. Therefore, they listen best to music who hear the best continually. The assertion is often heard that a person must be educated up to an enjoyment of high class music. Certainly, one who has heard nothing else must be educated down to an enjoyment of ragtime, with its crude rhythms.

"We know a true poem to the extent to which our spirits respond to the spiritual appeal it makes," says Dr. Hiram Corson. It is the same with a true musical composition. We must take something to it, in order to receive something from it. Beyond knowledge comes the intuitive feeling which is enriched by knowledge. Through it we may feel the breath of life, the spiritual appeal, which belongs to every great work of art and which must forever remain inexplicable.


The Piano and Piano Players

When Pythagoras, Father of Musical Science, some six centuries before our era, marked and sounded musical intervals by mathematical division on a string stretched across a board, he was unconsciously laying the foundation for our modern pianoforte. How soon keys were added to the monochord, as this measuring instrument was named, cannot positively be ascertained. We may safely assume it was not slow in adopting the rude keyboard ascribed by tradition to Pan pipes, and applied to the portable organ of early Christian communities.

After the tenth century the development of the monochord seems to have begun in earnest. Two or more strings of equal length are now divided and set in motion by flat metal wedges, attached to the key levers, and called tangents, because they touched the strings. In response to the demand for increased range, as many as twenty keys were brought to act on a few strings, commanding often three octaves. Guido d'Arezzo, the famous sight-reading music teacher of the eleventh century, advised his pupils to "exercise the hand in the use of the monochord," showing his knowledge of the keyboard. The keyed monochord gained the name clavichord. Its box-like case was first placed on a table, later on its own stand, and increased in elegance. Not until the eighteenth century was each key provided with a separate string.

No unimped triumphal progress can be claimed for the various claviers or keyboard instruments that came into use. Dance music found in them a congenial field, thus causing many serious-minded people to regard them as dangerous tempters to vanity and folly. In the year 1529, Pietro Bembo, a grave theoretician, wrote to his daughter Helena, at her convent school: "As to your request to be allowed to learn the clavier, I answer that you cannot yet, owing to your youth, understand that playing is only suited for volatile, frivolous women; whereas I desire you to be the most lovable maiden in the world. Also, it would bring you but little pleasure or renown if you should play badly; while to play well you would be obliged to devote ten or twelve years to practice, without being able to think of anything else. Consider a moment whether this would become you. If your friends wish you to play in order to give them pleasure, tell them you do not desire to make yourself ridiculous in their eyes, and be content with your books and your domestic occupations."

A different view was entertained in England during Queen Elizabeth's reign, where claviers were in vogue styled virginals, because, as an ancient chronicle explained, "virgins do most commonly play on them." The virginal was usually of oblong shape, often resembling a lady's workbox. With the Virgin Queen it was a prime favorite, although not named expressly for her as the flattering fashion of the time led many to assume. If she actually did justice to some of the airs with variations in the "Queen Elizabeth Virginal Book," she must indeed have been proficient on the instrument. Quaint Dr. Charles Burney (1726-1814) declares, in his "History of Music," that no performer of his day could play them without at least a month's practice.

The clavier gave promise of its destined career in the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare immortalized it, and William Byrd (1546-1623) became the first clavier master. He and Dr. John Bull (1563-1628), says Oscar Bie, in his great work on "The Clavier and Its Masters," "represent the two types which run through the entire history of the clavier. Byrd was the more intimate, delicate, spiritual intellect; Bull the untamed genius, the brilliant executant, the less exquisitely refined artist. It is significant that these two types stand together on the threshold of clavier art." Bull had gained his degree at Oxford, the founding of whose chair of music is popularly attributed to Alfred the Great.

As early as the year 1400 claviers had appeared whose strings were plucked by quills attached to jacks at the end of the key levers. To this group belonged the virginal, or virginals, the clavicembalo, the harpsichord, or clavecin, and the spinet. Stops were added, as in the organ, that varied effects might be produced, and a second keyboard was often placed above the first. The case was either rectangular, or followed the outlines of the harp, a progenitor of this clavier type. It was often highly ornamented, and handsomely mounted. Each string from the first had its due length and was tuned to its proper note.

The secular music principle of the sixteenth century that called into active being the orchestra led also to a desire for richer musical expression in home and social life than the fashionable lute afforded, and the clavier advanced in favor. In France, by 1530, the dance, that promoter of pure instrumental music, was freely transcribed for the clavier. Little more than a century later, Jean Baptiste Lully (1633-1687) extensively employed the instrument in the orchestration of his operas, and wrote solo dances for it.

Francois Couperin (1668-1733), now well-nigh forgotten, although once mentioned in the same breath with Moliere, wrote the pioneer clavier instruction book. In it he directs scholars how to avoid a harsh tone, and how to form a legato style. He advises parents to select teachers on whom implicit reliance may be placed, and teachers to keep the claviers of beginners under lock and key that there may be no practicing without supervision. His suggestions deserve consideration to-day.

He was the first to encourage professional clavier-playing among women. His daughter Marguerite was the first woman appointed official court clavier player. He composed for the clavier little picture tunes, designed to depict sentiments, moods, phases of character and scenes from life. He fashioned many charming turns of expression, introduced an occasional tempo rubato, foreshadowed the intellectual element in music and laid the corner-stone of modern piano-playing. Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) continued Couperin's work.

What is generally recognized as the first period of clavier-virtuosity begins with the Neapolitan Domenico Scarlatti (1683-1757), and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), the German of Germans. The style of Scarlatti is peculiarly the product of Italian love of beautiful tone, and what he wrote, though without depth of motive, kept well in view the technical possibilities of the harpsichord. His "Cat's Fugue," and his one movement sonatas still appear on concert programmes. In a collection of thirty sonatas he explained his purpose in these words: "Amateur, or professor, whoever thou art, seek not in these compositions for any profound feeling. They are only a frolic of art, meant to increase thy confidence in the clavier."

In Germany, with grand old Father Bach, the keyboard instrument was found capable of mirroring a mighty soul. The germ of all modern musical design lies in his clavier writings. It has been aptly said of this master of masters that he constructed a great university of music, from which all must graduate who would accomplish anything of value in music. Men of genius, from Mozart to the present time, have extolled him for the beauty of his melodies and harmonies, the expressiveness of his modulations, the wealth, spontaneity and logical clearness of his ideas, and the superb architecture of his productions. Students miss the soul of Bach because of the soulless, mechanical way in which they deface his legacy to them.

His "Twelve Little Preludes" alone contain the materials for an entire system of music. The "Inventions," too often treated as dry-as-dust studies, are laden with beautiful figures and devices that furnish inspiration for all time. As indicated by their title, which signifies a compound of appropriate expression and just disposition of the members, they were designed to cultivate the elements of musical taste, as well as freedom and equality of the fingers. His "Well Tempered Clavichord" has been called the pianist's Sacred Book. Its Preludes and Fugues illustrate every shade of human feeling, and were especially designed to exemplify the mode of tuning known as equal temperament, introduced into general use by Bach, and still employed by your piano tuner and mine.

Forkel, his biographer, has finely said that Bach considered the voices of his fugues a select company of persons conversing together. Each was allowed to speak only when there was something to say bearing on the subject in hand. A highly characteristic motive, or theme, as significant as the noblest "typical phrase," developing into equally characteristic progressions and cadences, is a striking feature of the Bach fugue. His "Suites" exalted forever the familiar dance tunes of the German people. His wonderful "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue" ushered the recitative into purely instrumental music.

As a teacher he was genial, kind, encouraging and in every respect a model. He obliged his pupils to write and understand as well as sound the notes. In his noble modesty he never held himself aloof as superior to others. When pupils were discouraged he reminded them how hard he had always been compelled to work, and assured them that equal industry would lead them to success. He gave the thumb its proper place on the keyboard, and materially improved fingering. Tranquillity and poetic beauty being prime essentials of his playing, he preferred to the more brilliant harpsichord, or spinet, the clavichord, whose thrilling, tremulous tone, owing to its construction, was exceedingly sensitive to the player's touch. The early hammer-clavier, or pianoforte, invented in 1711, by the Italian Cristofori, who derived the hammer idea from the dulcimer, did not attract him because of its extreme crudeness. Nevertheless, it was destined to develop into the musical instrument essential to the perfect interpretation of his clavier music.

His son and pupil, Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), proceeding on the principles established by his illustrious father, prepared the way for the modern pianist. His important theoretical work, "The True Art of Clavier Playing," was pronounced by Haydn the school of schools for all time. It was highly extolled by Mozart, and to it Clementi ascribed his knowledge and skill. In his compositions he was an active agent in the crystallization of the sonata form. From him Haydn gained much that he later transferred to the orchestra.

Impulse to the second period of clavier virtuosity was given by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Muzio Clementi (1752-1832). Mozart, who led the Viennese school, developed the singing style of playing and the smooth flowing legato. Leaving behind him the triumphs of his wonder-boyhood with spinet and harpsichord, he boldly entered the public concert-hall with the pianoforte, now greatly advanced by the improvements of Silbermann. Mozart brought into use its special features, showed its capacity for tone-shading and for the reflection of sentiment, and may well be said to have launched it on its career. Tradition declares that his hand was fashioned for clavier keys, and that its graceful movements afforded the eye no less pleasure than the ear. His noble technique, based on his profound study of the Bachs, was spiritualized by his own glowing fancy. In his playing, as in his compositions, every note was a pearl of great price. With his piano concertos he showed how clavier and orchestra may converse earnestly together without either having its individuality marred. The same equilibrium is maintained in his piano and violin sonatas and his other concerted chamber music, amid all their persuasive and eloquent discourse. His charming four-hand and double piano pieces, written for himself and his gifted sister Marianne, and his solo clavier sonatas would prove his wealth of musical invention had he not written another note.

Clementi, born in Rome, passed most of his life in London, where he attracted many pupils. Without great creative genius, he occupied himself chiefly with the technical problems of the pianoforte. He opened the way for the sonority of tone and imposing diction of the modern style. His music abounded in bold, brilliant passages of single and double notes. He is even credited with having trilled in octaves with one hand. Taking upon himself the management of an English piano factory, he extended the keyboard, in 1793, to five and a half octaves. Seven octaves were not reached until 1851. His "Gradus ad Parnassum" became the parent of Etude literature. Carl Tausig said: "There is but one god in technique, Bach, and Clementi is his prophet."

Losing the spirituality of a Mozart the Viennese school was destined to degenerate into empty bravura playing. Before its downfall it produced a Hummel, a Moscheles and a Czerny, each of whom left in their piano studies a valuable bequest to technique. Karl Czerny (1791-1857), called king of piano teachers, numbered among his pupils, Liszt, Doehler, Thalberg and Jaell. The Clementi school was continued in that familiar writer of Etudes, Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858), and began to show respect for the damper pedal. Its most eminent virtuoso was John Field (1782-1837) of Dublin.

Between these two schools stood Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827), a giant on lofty heights. Every accent of his dramatic music was embodied in his piano compositions. Tones furnished him unmistakably a language that needed no commentary. "In him," says Oscar Bie, "there were no tricks of technique to be admired, no mere virtuosity to praise; but he stirred his hearers to the depths of their hearts. Amid his storm and stress, whispering and listening, his awakening of the soul, an original naturalism of piano-playing was recognized, side by side with the naturalism of his creative art. Rhythm was the life of his playing." A union of conception and technique was a high aim of Beethoven, and he prized the latter only as it fulfilled the requirements of his idealism. "The high development of the mechanical in pianoforte playing," he wrote to a friend, "will end in banishing all genuine emotion from music." His prophetic words might serve as a warning to-day.

The past century has given us the golden age of the pianoforte. Advanced knowledge of acoustics and improved methods of construction have made it the magnificent instrument we know in concert hall and home, and to which we now apply the more intimate name, piano. Oscar Bie calls it the music teacher of all mankind that has become great with the growth of modern music. As a photograph may convey to the home an excellent conception of a master painting in some distant art gallery, so the piano, in addition to the musical creations it has inspired, may present to the domestic circle intelligent reproductions of mighty choral, operatic and instrumental works. Through its medium the broad field of musical history and literature may be surveyed in private with profit and pleasure.

Piano composers and virtuosos rapidly increase. Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) stood on the threshold of the fairyland of romance. His scheme of a dialogue, in the opening adagio of his "Invitation to the Dance," followed by an entrancing waltz and a grave concluding dialogue, betokens what he might have accomplished for the piano had he lived longer. Franz Schubert (1797-1828) and Robert Schumann (1810-1856) were the evangelists par excellence of the new romantic school. Schubert, closely allied in spirit to the master-builder, Beethoven, was unsurpassed in the refinement of his musical sentiment. The melody flooding his soul beautified his piano compositions, to which only a delicate touch may do justice. His Impromptus and Moments Musical, small impressionist pieces, in which isolated musical ideas are clothed in brief artistic forms adapted to the timbre of the instrument, may well be thought to have placed piano literature on a new basis.

The romantic temperament of Robert Schumann was nurtured on German romantic literature and music. His impressions of nature, life and literature he imprisoned in tones. He was a profound student of Bach, to whom he traced "the power of combination, poetry and humor in the new music." Infusing his own vital emotions into polyphonic forms he gave the piano far grander tone-pictures than those of Couperin. The dreamy fervor and the glowing fire of an impassioned nature may be felt in his works, but also many times the lack of balance that belongs with the malady by which he was assailed.

His love of music became early interwoven with love for Clara, the gifted daughter and pupil of his teacher, Friedrich Wieck. To her he dedicated his creative power. An attempt to gain flexibility by means of a mechanical contrivance having lamed his fingers, he turned from a pianist's career to composition and musical criticism. In becoming his wife Clara gave him both hands in more senses than one, and they shone together as a double star in the art firmament. Madame Schumann had acquired a splendid foundation for her career through the wise guidance of her father, whose pedagogic ideas every piano student might consider with profit. Her playing was distinguished by its musicianly intelligence and fine artistic feeling. Earnest simplicity surrounded her public and her private life, and the element of personal display was wholly foreign to her. She was the ideal woman, artist and teacher who remained in active service until a short time before her death, in 1896.

Those were charmed days in Leipsic when the Schumanns and Mendelssohn formed the centre of an enthusiastic circle of musicians, and created a far-reaching musical atmosphere. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), in his work for the piano, adapted to drawing-room use technical devices of his day, and in his "Songs without Words" gave a decisive short-story form to piano literature. His playing is described as possessing an organ firmness of touch without organ ponderosity, and having an expression that moved deeply without intoxicating. Living in genial surroundings, he was never forced to struggle, and although he climbed through flowery paths, he never reached the goal he longed for until his heart broke.

Delicate, sensitive, fastidious, Frederic Chopin (1809-1849) delivered his musical message with persuasive eloquence through the medium of the piano. It was his chosen comrade. With it he exchanged the most subtle confidences. Gaining a profound knowledge of its resources he raised it to an independent power. Polish patriotism steeped in Parisian elegance shaped his genius, and his compositions portray the emotions of his people in exquisitely polished tonal language. Spontaneous as was his creative power he was most painstaking in regard to the setting of his musical ideas and would often devote weeks to re-writing a single page that every detail might be perfect. The best that was in him he gave to music and to the piano. He enlarged the musical vocabulary, he re-created and enriched technique and diction, and to him the musician of to-day owes a debt that should never be forgotten. "He is of the race of eagles," said his teacher, Elsner. "Let all who aspire follow him in his flights toward regions sublime."

The man who, by his demands on the piano, induced improvements in its manufacture that materially increased its sonority and made it available for the modern idea, was Franz Liszt (1811-1886). He will always be remembered as the creator of orchestral piano-playing and of the symphonic poem. The impetuous rhythms and unfathomable mysteries of Magyar and gipsy life surrounding him in Hungary, the land of his birth, strongly influenced the shaping of his genius. Like the wandering children of nature who had filled the dreams of his childhood, he became a wanderer and marched a conqueror, radiant with triumphs, through the musical world. Chopin, who shrank from concert-playing, once said to him: "You are destined for it. You have the force to overwhelm, control, compel the public."

The bewitching tones of the gipsy violinist, Bihary, had fallen on his boyish ears "like drops of some fiery, volatile essence," stimulating him to effort. On the threshold of manhood he was inspired to apply the methods of Paganini to the piano. All his early realistic and revolutionary ideas found vent in his pianistic achievements. He gained marvelous fulness of chord power, great dynamic variety, and numerous unexpected solutions of the tone problem. Many technical means of expression were invented by him, and a wholly new fingering was required for his purposes. He taught the use of a loose wrist, absolute independence of the fingers and a new manipulation of the pedals. To carry out his designs the third or sustaining pedal became necessary. His highest ambition, in his own words, was "to leave to piano players the foot-prints of attained advance." In 1839 he ventured on the first pure piano recital ever given in the concert hall. His series of performances in this line, covering the entire range of piano literature, in addition to his own compositions, given entirely without notes, led the public to expect playing by heart from all other artists.

As a great pianist, a composer of original conceptions, a magnetic conductor, an influential teacher, an intelligent writer on musical subjects and a devoted promoter of the interests of art, he stands out in bold relief, one of the grand figures in the history of music. His piano paraphrases and transcriptions are poetic re-settings of tone-creations he had thoroughly assimilated and made his own. In his original works, which Saint-Saens was perhaps the first to appreciate, students are now beginning to discover the ripe fruits of his genius. Faithful ones among the pupils who flocked about him in classic Weimar spread wide his influence, but also much harm was done in his name by charlatans who, calling themselves Liszt pupils, cast broadcast the fallacy that piano pounding was genuine pianistic power.

Large hearted, liberal minded, whole souled in his devotion to his art and its true interests, Franz Liszt seemed wholly without personal jealousies, and befriended and brought into public notice a large number of artists. Hector Berlioz declared that to him belonged "the sincere admiration of earnest minds, as well as the involuntary homage of the envious." At the opening of the Baireuth Temple of German Art, in 1876, Richard Wagner paid him this tribute in the midst of a joyful company: "Here is one who first gave me faith in my work when no one knew anything of me. But for him, my dear friend, Franz Liszt, you might not have had a note from me to-day."

A rival of Liszt in the concert field, especially before a Parisian public, was Sigismund Thalberg (1812-1871), who visited this country in 1855 and literally popularized the piano in America. Alfred Jaell and Henri Herz, who had preceded him, doubtless prepared the way for his triumphs. He and the "Creole Chopin," Louis Moreau Gottschalk, attracted much attention by several joint appearances in our musical centres of the time. Thalberg was a pupil of Hummel, and felt the influence of his teacher's cold, severely classic style. He possessed a well-trained, fascinating mechanism, with scales, chords, arpeggios and octaves that were marvels of neatness and accuracy, and a tone that was mellow and liquid, though lacking in warmth. His operatic transcriptions, in which a central melody is enfolded in arabesques, chords and running passages, have long since become antiquated, but his art of singing on the piano and many of his original studies still remain valuable to the pianist.

When Liszt and Thalberg were in possession of the concert platform, they occupied the attention of cartoonists as fully as Paderewski at a later date. Liszt, his hair floating wildly, was represented as darting through the air on wide-stretched pinions with keyboards attached—a play on Fluegel, the German for grand piano. Thalberg, owing to his dignified repose, was caricatured as posing in a stiff, rigid manner before a box of keys.

Rubinstein and Von Buelow offer two more contrasting personalities. Anton Rubinstein (1830-1894) was the impressionist, the subjective artist, who re-created every composition he played. The Russian tone-colorist he has been called, and the warmth and glow with which he invested every nuance can never be forgotten by those who were privileged to hear his Titanic interpretations, over whose very blemishes was cast the glamor of the impassioned temperament that caused them. "May Heaven forgive me for every wrong note I have struck!" he exclaimed to a youthful admirer after one of his concerts in this country during the season of 1872-3. Certainly the listener under the spell of his magnetism could forgive, almost forget. Hans von Buelow (1830-1894) was the objective artist, whose scholarly attainments and musicianly discernment unraveled the most tangled web of phrasing and interpretation. His Beethoven recitals, when he was in America in 1875-6, were of especial value to piano students. As a piano virtuoso, a teacher, a conductor and an editor of musical works, he was a marked educational factor in music.

In his youth Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), the great apostle of modern intellectual music, made his debut before the musical world as a brilliant and versatile pianist. Once, when about to play in public Beethoven's magnificent Kreutzer Sonata, with Remenyi, who was the first to recognize his genius, he discovered that the piano was half a tone below concert pitch, and rather than spoil the effect by having the violin tuned down, the boy of nineteen unhesitatingly transposed the piano part which he was playing from memory into a higher key. The fire, energy and breadth of his rendering, together with the splendid musicianship displayed by this feat, deeply impressed the great violinist Joachim, who was present, and who became enthusiastic in his praise. Schumann, on making his acquaintance, proclaimed the advent of a genius who wrote music in which the spirit of the age found its consummation, and who, at the piano, unveiled wonders. By others he has been called the greatest contrapuntist after Bach, the greatest architectonist after Beethoven, the man of creative power who assimilated the older forms and invested them with a new life entirely his own. His piano works are a rich addition to the pianist's store, but whoever would unveil their beautiful proportions, all aglow as they are with sacred fire, must have taken a master's degree.

Two pupils of Liszt stand out prominently—Carl Tausig (1841-1871) and Eugene D'Albert (1864- ——). The first was distinguished by his extraordinary sense for style, and was thought to surpass his master in absolute flawlessness of technique. To the second Oscar Bie attributes the crown of piano playing in our time. Peter Iljitch Tschaikowsky (1840-1893), the distinguished representative of the modern Russian school, was an original, dramatic and fertile composer and wrote for the piano some of his highly colored and very characteristic music. Edward Grieg (1843- ——), the national tone-poet of Norway, has given the piano some of his most delightful efforts, fresh with the breezes of the North.

The veteran French composer, Charles Camille Saint-Saens (1835- ——), has won great renown as a pianist, and was one of the most precocious children on record, having begun the study of the piano when under three years of age. He was the teacher that knew how to develop the individuality of the young Russian, Leopold Godowsky, who has done such remarkable work on two continents, as a teacher and piano virtuoso.

Perhaps the most famous piano teacher of recent times is Theodore Leschetitzky, of Vienna. His method is that of common sense, based on keen analytical faculties, and he never trains the hand apart from the musical sense. His most renowned pupil is Ignace Jan Paderewski, the magnetic Pole, whose exquisite touch and tone long made him the idol of the concert room, and who, with time, has gained in robustness, but also in recklessness of style. Another gifted pupil of the Viennese master is Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, of Chicago, an artiste of rare temperament, musical feeling and nervous power, of whom Dr. Hanslick said that her virtuosity was stupendous, her delicacy in the finest florid work as marvelous as her fascinating energy in the forte passages.

The great tidal wave set in motion by the piano has swept over the civilized world, carrying with it hosts of accomplished pianists. Of some of those who are familiar figures in our musical centres it has been said that Teresa Carreno learned from Rubinstein the art of piano necromancy; that Rosenthal is an amazing technician whose interpretations lack tenderness; that De Pachmann is on terms of intimacy with Chopin, and that Rafael Joseffy, the disciple of Tausig, combines all that is best in the others with striking methods of his own.

Great is the piano, splendid its literature, many its earnest students, numerous its worthy exponents. That it is so often made a means of empty show is not the fault of the piano, it is due to a tendency of the day that calls for superficial glamor. Herbert Spencer was not so wrong as some of the critics seem to think when, in his last volume, he said that teachers of music and music performers were often corrupters of music. Those certainly are corrupters of music who use the piano solely for meaningless technical feats.


The Poetry and Leadership of Chopin

"The piano bard, the piano rhapsodist, the piano mind, the piano soul is Chopin," said Rubinstein. "Tragic, romantic, lyric, heroic, dramatic, fantastic, soulful, sweet, dreamy, brilliant, grand, simple, all possible expressions are found in his compositions and all are sung by him on his instrument."

In these few, bold strokes one who knew him by virtue of close art and race kinship, presents an incomparable outline sketch of the Polish tone-poet who explored the harmonic vastness of the pianoforte and made his own all its mystic secrets.

Born and bred on Poland's soil, son of a French father and a Polish mother, Frederic Chopin (1809-1849) combined within himself two natures, each complementing the other, both uniting to form a personality not understood by every casual observer. He is described as kind, courteous, possessed of the most captivating grace and ease of manner, now inclined to languorous melancholy, now scintillating with a joyous vivacity that was contagious. His sensitive nature, like the most exquisitely constructed sounding-board, vibrated with the despairing sadness, the suppressed wrath, and the sublime fortitude of the brave, haughty, unhappy people he loved, and with his own homesickness when afar from his cherished native land.

Patriot and tone-poet in every fibre of his being, his genius inevitably claimed as its own the soul's divinest language, pure music, unfettered by words. The profound reserve of his nature made it peculiarly agreeable to him to gratify the haunting demands of his lyric muse through the medium of the one musical instrument that lends itself in privacy to the exploitation of all the mysteries of harmony. Strong conviction in regard to his own calling and clear perception of the hidden powers and future mission of the piano early compelled him to consecrate to it his unfaltering devotion. He evolved from its more intimate domain effects in sympathy with those of the orchestra, yet purely individual. He enriched it with new melodic, harmonic and rhythmic devices adapted to itself alone, and endowed it with a warmth of tone-coloring that spiritualized it for all time.

To the piano he confided all the conflicts that raged within him, all the courage and living hope that sustained him. In giving tonal form to the deep things of the soul, which are universal in their essence and application, he embodied universal rather than merely individual emotional experiences, and thus unbared what was most sacred to himself without jarring on the innate reticence which made purely personal confidences impossible. Although his mode of expression was peculiarly his own, he had received a strong impulse from the popular music of Poland. As a child he had become familiar with the folk-songs and dances heard in the harvest-fields and at market and village festivals. They were his earliest models; on them were builded his first themes. As Bach glorified the melodies of the German people, so Chopin glorified those of the Poles. The national tonality became to him a vehicle to be freighted with his own individual conceptions.

"I should like to be to my people what Uhland was to the Germans," he once said to a friend. He addressed himself to the heart of this people and immortalized its joys, sorrows and caprices by the force of his splendid art. Those who have attempted to interpret him as the sentimental hero of minor moods, the tone-poet in whom the weakness of despair predominates, have missed the leaping flames, the vivid intensity and the heroic manliness permeated with genuine love of beauty that animated him. True art softens the harshest accents of suffering by placing superior to it some elevating idea. So in the most melancholy strains of his music one who heeds well may detect the presence of a lofty ideal that uplifts and strengthens the travailing soul. It has been said of him that he had a sad heart but a joyful mind.

The two teachers of Chopin were Adalbert Zwyny, a Bohemian violinist, who taught the piano, and Joseph Elsner, a violinist, organist and theorist. "From Zwyny and Elsner even the greatest dunce must learn something," he is quoted as saying. Neither of these men attempted to hamper his free growth by rigid technical restraints. Their guidance left him master of his own genius, at liberty to "soar like the lark into the ethereal blue of the skies." He respected them both. A revering affection was cherished by him for Elsner, to whom he owed his sense of personal responsibility to his art, his habits of serious study and his intimate acquaintance with Bach.

There is food for thought in the fact that this Prince Charming of the piano, whose magic touch awakened the Sleeping Beauty of the instrument of wood and wires, never had a lesson in his life from a mere piano specialist. Liszt once said Chopin was the only pianist he ever knew that could play the violin on the piano. If he could do so it was because he had harkened to the voice of the violin and resolved to show that the piano, too, could produce thrilling effects. In the same way he had listened to the human voice, and determined that the song of his own instrument should be heard. Those who give ear to the piano alone will never learn the secret of calling forth its supreme eloquence.

We can see and hear this "Raphael of Music" at the piano, so many and so eloquent have been the descriptions given of his playing. It is easy to fancy him sweeping the ivory keys with his gossamer touch that enveloped with ethereal beauty the most unaccustomed of his complicated chromatic modulations. We can feel his individuality pulsating through every tone evoked by those individualized fingers of his as they weave measures for sylphs of dreamland, or summon to warfare heroes of the ideal world. We are entranced by his luxuriant tone-coloring, induced to a large extent by his original management of the pedals. We marvel at his softly whispered, yet ever clearly distinct pianissimo, at the full, round tone of its relative fortissimo, that was never harsh or noisy, and at all the exquisitely graded nuances that lay between, with those time fluctuations expressive of the ebb and flow of his poetic inner being. No wonder Balzac maintained that if Chopin should but drum on the table his fingers would evoke subtle-sounding music.

And what an example he has left for teachers. Delicately strung as he was, he must often have endured tortures from the best of his pupils, but so thoroughly was he consecrated to his art that he never faltered in his efforts to lift those who confided in him to the aerial heights he had found. A vivid picture of his method of teaching is given in the lectures on "Frederic Chopin's Works and Their Proper Interpretation," by the Pole, Jean Kleczynski.

The basis of this method consisted in refinement of touch, for the attainment of which a natural, easy position of the hand was considered by Chopin a prime requisite. He prepared each hand with infinite care before permitting any attempt at the reproduction of musical ideas. In order to place it to advantage he caused it to be thrown lightly on the keyboard so that the five fingers rested on the notes E, F sharp, G sharp, A sharp and B, and without change of position required the practice of exercises calculated to insure independence. The pupil was instructed to go through these exercises first staccato, effected by a free movement of the wrist, an admirable means of counteracting heaviness and clumsiness, then legato-staccato, then accented legato, then pure legato, modifying the power from pp to ff, and the movement from andante to prestissimo.

He was exceedingly particular about arpeggio work, and insisted upon the repetition of every note and passage until all harshness and roughness of tone were eliminated. "Is that a dog barking?" he was known to exclaim to an unlucky pupil whose attack in the opening arpeggio of a Clementi study lacked the desired quality. A very independent use of the thumb was prescribed by him. He never hesitated about placing it on a black key when convenient, and had it passed by muscle action alone in scales and broken chords whose zealous practice in different forms of touch, accent, rhythm and tone were demanded by him.

Individualization of the fingers was one of his strong points, and he believed in assigning to each of them its appropriate part. "In a good mechanism," he said, "the aim is not to play everything with an equal sound, but to acquire beautiful quality of touch and perfect shading." Of prime importance in his eyes was a clear, elastic, singing tone, one whose exquisite delicacy could never be confounded with feebleness. Every dynamic nuance he exacted of fingers that fell with freedom and elasticity on the keys, and he knew how to augment the warmth and richness of tone-coloring by setting in vibration sympathetic harmonics of the principal notes through judicious employment of the damper pedal.

By precept and example he advocated frequent playing of the preludes and fugues of Bach as a means of cultivating musical intelligence, muscular independence and touch and tone discrimination. His musical heroes were Bach and Mozart, for they represented to him nature, strong individuality and poetry in music. At one time he undertook to write a method or school of piano-playing, but never progressed beyond the opening sentences. A message directly from him would have been invaluable to students, and might have averted many unlucky misapprehensions of himself and his works. Those of his contemporaries who have harkened with rapture to his playing have declared that he alone could adequately interpret his tone-creations, or make perfectly intelligible his method. Pupils of his and their pupils have faithfully endeavored to transmit to the musical world the tradition of his individual style. The elect few have come into touch with his vision of beauty, but it has been mercilessly misinterpreted by thousands of ruthless aspirants to musical honors, in the schoolroom, the students' recital and the concert hall.

Whoever plays Chopin with sledge-hammer fingers will deaden all sense of his poetry, charm and grace. Whoever approaches him with weak sentimentalism will miss altogether his dignity and strength. It has been said of him that he was Woman in his tenderness and realization of the beautiful; and Man in his energy and force of mind. The highest type of artist and human being is thus represented. To interpret him requires simplicity, purity of style, refined technique, poetic imagination and genuine sentiment—not fitful, fictitious sentimentality.

In regard to the much discussed tempo rubato of Chopin many and fatal blunders have been made. Players without number have gone stumbling over the piano keys with a tottering, spasmodic gait, serenely fancying they are heeding the master's design. Reckless, out-of-time playing disfigures what is meant to express the fluctuation of thought, the soul's agitation, the rolling of the waves of time and eternity. The rubato, from rubare, to rob, represents a pliable movement that is certainly as old as the Greek drama in declamation, and was employed in intoning the Gregorian chant. The recitative of the sixteenth century gave it prominence, and it passed into instrumental music. Indications of it in Bach are too often neglected. Beethoven used it effectively. Chopin appropriated it as one of his most potent auxiliaries. In playing he emphasized the saying of Mozart: "Let your left hand be the orchestra conductor," while his right hand balanced and swayed the melody and its arabesques according to the natural pulsation of the emotions. "You see that tree," exclaimed Liszt; "its leaves tremble with every breath of the wind, but the tree remains unshaken—that is the rubato." There are storms to which even the tree yields. To realize them, to divine the laws which regulate the undulating, tempest-tossed rubato, requires highly matured artistic taste and absolute musical control.

Too sensitive to enjoy playing before miscellaneous audiences whose unsympathetic curiosity, he declared, paralyzed him, Chopin was at his best when interpreting music in private, for a choice circle of friends or pupils, or when absorbed in composition. It is not too much to say for him that he ushered in a new era for his chosen instrument, spiritualizing its timbre, liberating it from traditional orchestral and choral effects, and elevating it to an independent power in the world of music. Besides enriching the technique of the piano, he augmented the materials of musical expression, contributing fresh charms to those prime factors of music melody, harmony and rhythm. New chord extensions, passages of double notes, arabesques and harmonic combinations were devised by him and he so systematized the use of the pedals that the most varied nuances could be produced by them.

In melody and general conception his tone-poems sprang spontaneously from his glowing fancy, but they were subjected to the most severe tests before they were permitted to go out into the world. Every ingenious device that gave character to his exquisite cantilena, and softened his most startling chord progressions, was evolved by the vivid imagination of this master from hitherto hidden qualities of the pianoforte. Without him neither it nor modern music could have been what it is. An accentuation like the ringing of distant bells is frequently heard in his music. To him bell tones were ever ringing, reminding him of home, summoning him to the heights.

James Huneker, the raconteur of the Musical Courier, discussing the compositions of Chopin, in his delightful and inspiring book, "Chopin, the Man and His Music," calls the studies Titanic experiments; the preludes, moods in miniature; the nocturnes, night and its melancholy mysteries; the ballades, faery dramas; the polonaises, heroic hymns of battle; the valses and mazurkas, dances of the soul; the scherzos, the work of Chopin the conqueror. In the sonatas and concertos he sees the princely Pole bravely carrying his banner amid classical currents. For the impromptus alone he has found no name and says of them: "To write of the four impromptus in their own key of unrestrained feeling and pondered intention would not be as easy as recapturing the first 'careless rapture of the lark.'"

Unquestionably the poetry of Chopin is of the most exquisite lyric character, his leadership is supreme. So original was his conception, so finished his workmanship, so sublime his purpose, that we may well exclaim with Schumann, "He is the boldest, proudest poetic spirit of the time." "His greatness is his aristocracy," says Oscar Bie. "He stands among musicians in his faultless vesture, a noble from head to foot."


Violins and Violinists—Fact and Fable

That fine old bard who shaped the character of Volker the Fiddler in the Nibelungen Lay, had a glowing vision of the power of music and of the violin. Players on the videl, or fiddle, abounded in the days of chivalry, but Volker, glorified by genius, rises superior to his fellow minstrels. The inspiring force of his martial strains renewed the courage of way-worn heroes. His gentle measures, pure and melodious as a prayer, lulled them to sorely-needed rest.

And what a wonderful bow he wielded! It was mighty and long, fashioned like a sword, with a keen-edged outer blade, and in his good right hand could deal a deft blow on either side. Ever ready for action was he, and his friendship for Hagen of Tronje furnished the main elements of that grim warrior's power. Together they were long invincible, smiting the foe with giant strokes, accompanied by music.

The modern German poet, Wilhelm Jordan, in his Sigfridsage, clothes Volker with the attributes of a violin king he loved, and represents him tenderly handling the violin. His noble portrayal of a violinist testifies no more fully to the mission of the musician than the creation of the Nibelungen bard. In August Wilhelmj, once hailed by Henrietta Sontag as the coming Paganini, Richard Wagner saw "Volker the Fiddler living anew, until death a warrior true." So he wrote in a dedicatory verse beneath a portrait of himself, presented to "Volker-Wilhelmj as a souvenir of the first Baireuth festival."

The idea of a magic fiddle and a wonderworking fiddler was strongly rooted in the popular imagination of many peoples, through many ages. Typical illustrations are the Wonderful Musician of Grimm's Fairy Tales, whose fiddling attracted man and beast, and the lad of Norse folk-lore who won a fiddle that could make people dance to any tune he chose. In Norway the traditional violin teacher is the cascade-haunting musical genius Fossegrim, who, when suitably propitiated, seizes the right hand of one that seeks his aid and moves it across the strings until blood gushes from the finger-tips. Thenceforth the pupil becomes a master, and can make trees leap, rivers stay their course and people bow to his will.

Those of us who were brought up on English nursery rhymes early loved the fiddle. Old King Cole, that merry old soul, was a prime favorite, notwithstanding his fondness for pipe and bowl, because when he called for them he called for his fiddlers three and their very fine fiddles. According to Robert of Gloucester, the real King Cole, a popular monarch of Britain in the third century, was the father of St. Helena, the zealous friend of church music. The nursery satire of doubtful antiquity is our sole evidence of his devotion to the art.

That John who stoutly refused to sell his fiddle in order to buy his wife a gown placed the ideal above the material. It is to be hoped Mrs. John enjoyed music more than gay attire. Certainly the dame who was forced to dance without her shoe until the master found his fiddling-stick knew the worth of the fiddler's art.

It may have been from a play on the word catgut that so many of these ditties represent pussy in relation with the fiddle. True fiddler's magic belonged to the cat whose fiddling made the cow jump over the moon, the little dog laugh and the dish run away with the spoon. Rarely accomplished too was the cat that came fiddling out of the barn with a pair of bagpipes under her arm, singing "Fiddle cum fee, the mouse has married the humble bee."

Scientists tell us that crickets, grasshoppers, locusts and the like are fiddlers. Their hind legs are their fiddle-bows, and by drawing these briskly up and down the projecting veins of their wing-covers they produce the sounds that characterize them. Was it in imitation of these small winged creatures that man first experimented with the friction of bow and strings as a means of making music? Scarcely. It was the result of similar instinct on a larger human scale.

String instruments played with a bow may be traced to a remote period among various Oriental peoples. An example of their simplest form exists in the ravanastron, or banjo-fiddle, supposed to have been invented by King Ravana, who reigned in Ceylon some 5,000 years ago. It is formed of a small cylindrical sounding-body, with a stick running through it for a neck, a bridge, and a single string of silk, or at most two strings. Its primitive bow was a long hairless cane rod which produced sound when drawn across the silk. Better tone was derived from strings plucked with fingers or plectrum, and so the rude contrivance remained long undeveloped.

The European violin is the logical outcome of the appliance of the bow to those progenitors of the pianoforte, the Greek monochord and lyre, precisely as our music is the outgrowth of the diatonic scale developed by the Greeks from those instruments. Numerous obstacles stand in the way of defining its story, but it is known that from the ninth century to the thirteenth bow instruments gained in importance. They divided into two classes—the viol proper, with flat back and breast and indented sides, to which belonged the veille, videl, or as it has been called, guitar-fiddle, and the pear-shaped type, such as the gigue and rebec. The latter is what Chaucer calls the rubible.

Possibly an impulse was given the fiddle by the Moorish rebab, brought into Spain in the eighth century, but ancient Celtic bards had long before this used a bow instrument—the chrotta or crwth, derived from the lyre, which was introduced by the Romans in their colonizing expeditions. As early as 560 A. D., Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers, wrote to the Duke of Champagne:

"Let the barbarians praise thee with the harp, Let the British crwth sing."

This instrument, whose name signifies bulging box, was common in Britain, and was used in Wales until a comparatively recent period. One of its distinguishing features was an opening in the lower part for the admission of the fingers while playing. A fine specimen is preserved in the South Kensington Museum, corresponding well to the following description by a Welsh poet of the fifteenth century: "A fair coffer with a bow, a girdle, a finger-board and a bridge; its value is a pound; it has a frontlet formed like a wheel with the short-nosed bow across. In its centre are the circled sounding-holes, and the bulging of its back is somewhat like an old man, but on its breast harmony reigns, from the sycamore melodious music is obtained. Six pegs, if we screw them, will tighten all its chords; six advantageous strings are found, which, in a skilful hand, produce a varied sound."

In this same museum is a curious wedge-shaped boxwood fiddle, decorated with allegorical scenes, and dated 1578. Dr. Burney states that it has no more tone than a violin with a sordine. It is said to have been presented by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Leicester, and bears both of their coats-of-arms in silver on the sounding-board. Besides her other accomplishments, the Virgin Queen, we are told, was a violinist. During her reign we find the violin mentioned among instruments accompanying the drama and various festivities, and viols of diverse kinds were freely used. Shakespeare, in Twelfth Night, has Sir Toby enumerate among Sir Andrew Aguecheek's attractions skill on the viol-de-gamboys, Sir Toby's blunder for the viola da gamba, a fashionable bass viol held between the knees. A part was written for this instrument in Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and a number of celebrated performers on it are recorded in the eighteenth century. Two of these were ladies, Mrs. Sarah Ottey and Miss Ford.

Violers and fiddlers formed an essential part of the retinue of many monarchs in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Charles II., of England, had twenty-four at his court, with red bonnets and flaunting livery, who played for him while he was dining according to the custom he had known at the French court during his exile. Place was grudgingly yielded to the violin by friends of the less insistent viol. Butler, in Hudibras, styled it "a squeaking engine." Earlier writers mention "the scolding violin," and describing the Maypole dance tell of not hearing the "minstrelsie for the fiddling." Thus all along its course it has had its opponents and deriders as well as its friends.

The soft-toned viol had deeply indented sides to permit a free use of the bow, was mostly supplied with frets like a guitar, and had usually from five to seven strings. Its different sizes corresponded with the soprano, contralto, tenor and bass of the human voice. An extremely interesting treble viol much in vogue in the eighteenth century was the viola d'amore, with fourteen strings, the seven of gut and silver being supplemented by seven sympathetic wire strings running below the finger-board and tuned in unison with the bowstrings, vibrating harmoniously while these are played. A remarkably well preserved specimen of this instrument, made by Eberle of Prague, in 1733, and superbly carved on pegbox and scroll, is in the fine private violin collection of Mr. D. H. Carr, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is one of the few genuine viola d'amores extant. The owner says of it: "The tone is simply wonderful, mellow, pure and strong, and of that exquisite harmony that comes from the throne of Nature. I know of no other genuine viola d'amore, and it compares with the modern copies I have seen as a Raphael or a Rubens with some cheap lithograph." These modern copies are the result of recent efforts to revive the use of this fascinating instrument. A barytone of a kindred nature was the viola di bordone or drone viol, so called because there was a suggestion of the buzzing of drone-flies, or humble bees, in the tones of its sympathetic strings, which often numbered as many as twenty-four. These violas recall the Hardanger peasant fiddle of Norway, of unknown origin and antiquity, whose delicate metallic under strings quaver tremulously and mysteriously when the bow sets in motion the main strings.

At one time every family of distinction in Britain deemed a chest of viols, consisting for the most part of two trebles, two altos, a barytone and a bass, as indispensable to the household as the piano is thought to-day. It was made effective in accompanying the madrigal, that delightful flower of the Elizabethan age. Singers not always being available for all of the difficult voice parts viols of the same compass supplied the lack. It was but a step for masters of music to compose pieces marked "to be sung or played," thus contributing to the forces that were lifting instrumental music above mere accompaniment for song or dance.

When musicians make demands musical instrument makers are ever ready to meet them, and the viol steadily improved. One who contributed to its progress was Gasper Duiffoprugcar (1514-1572) a luthier and mosaic inlayer, known in the Tyrol, in Bologna, Paris and Lyons. The belief that he originated the violin rests chiefly on the elaborately ornamented forgeries bearing his name, the work of French imitators from 1800 to 1840. There is an etching, supposed to be a copy of a portrait of himself carved on one of his viols with this motto: "I lived in the wood until I was slain by the relentless axe. In life I was silent, but in death my melody is exquisite."

The words might apply to the perfected violin, whose evolution was going on all through that period of literary and artistic activity known as the Renaissance. When or at whose hands it gained its present form is unknown. The same doubt encircles its first master player. Perhaps the earliest worthy of mention is one Baltzarini, a Piedmontese, appointed by Catherine de Medici, in 1577, to lead the music at the French court, and said to have started the heroic and historical ballet in France.

He is sometimes confounded with Thomas Baltzar, a violinist of Lubec, who, in 1656 introduced the practice of shifting in London, where he wholly eclipsed David Mell, a much admired clockmaker fiddler, although the latter, as a contemporary stoutly averred, "played sweeter, was a well-bred gentleman, and was not given to excessive drinking as Baltzar was." His marvelous feat of "running his fingers to the end of the finger-board and back again with all alacrity" caused a learned Oxford connoisseur of music to look if he had hoofs. Notwithstanding the jovial tastes of this German, he was appointed leader, by Charles II., of the famous violins, and had the final honor of a burial in Westminster Abbey.

Here reposed also in due time his successor in the royal band, John Banister, who had been sent by the king to France for study, and who was the first Englishman, unless the amateur Mell be counted, to distinguish himself as a performer on the violin. He wrote music for Shakespeare's Tempest, and was the first to attempt, in London, concerts at which the audience paid for seats. Announcements of the initial performance, September 30, 1672, read: "These are to give notice that at Mr. Banister's house (now called the Musick School) over against the George Tavern in White Friars, this present Monday will be performed musick by excellent masters, beginning precisely at four o'clock in the afternoon and every afternoon for the future at precisely the same hour."

Credit for shaping the first violin has been given Gasparo Bertolotti (1542-1609), called Gasparo da Salo, from his birthplace, a suburb of Brescia, that pearl of Lombardy so long a bone of contention among nations. Violins were doubtless made before his time, but none are known to-day dated earlier than his. A pretty legend tells how this skilful viol-maker imprisoned in his first violin the golden tones of the soprano voice of Marietta, the maiden he loved and from whom death parted him. Her likeness, so the story runs, is preserved in the angel face, by Benevenuto Cellini, adorning the head. The instrument thus famed was purchased for 3,000 Neapolitan ducats by Cardinal Aldobrandini, who presented it to the treasury at Innsprueck. Here it remained as a curiosity until the French took the city in 1809, when it was carried to Vienna and sold to a wealthy Bohemian collector, after whose death it came into the possession of Ole Bull.

Gasparo's pupil, Giovanni Paolo Maggini (1581-1631), improved the principles of violin-building, and gave the world the modern viola and violoncello. A rich viola-like quality characterizes the Maggini violin. De Beriot used one in his concerts, and its plaintive tone was thought well suited to his style. He refused to part with it for 20,000 francs when Wieniawski, in 1859, wished to buy it. To-day it would command a far higher price. It is stated on authority that not more than fifty instruments of its make now exist, although a large number of French imitations claim recognition.

While Gasparo was founding the so-called Brescian school, Andrea Amati (1520-1580), a viol and rebec maker of picturesque Cremona, began to make violins, doubtless to fill the orders of his patrons. He must have believed the pinnacle of fame reached when King Charles IX. of France, in 1566, commissioned him to construct twenty-four violins, twelve large and twelve small pattern. They were kept in the Chapel Royal, Versailles, until 1790, when they were seized by the mob in the French Revolution, and but one of them is known to have escaped destruction. Heron-Allen, in his work on violin making, gives a picture of it, obtained through the courtesy of its owner, George Somers, an English gentleman. Its tone is described as mellow and extremely beautiful, but lacking in brilliancy.

As the Amati brothers, Antonio and Geronimo (Hieronymous) Amati continued their father's trade, producing instruments similar to his. The family reached its flower in Nicolo Amati (1596-1684), son of Geronimo. He originated the "Grand Amatis," and attained a purer, more resonant tone than his predecessors, although not always adapted to modern concert use. One of his violins was the favorite instrument of the French virtuoso Delphine Jean Alard (1815-1888), long violin professor at the Paris Conservatoire. It has been described as sounding like the melodious voice of a child heard beside the rising tide. Another fine specimen was exhibited by Mr. J. D. Partello, in 1893, at the World's Fair, in Chicago.

Nicolo Amati's influence was felt in his famous pupils. Foremost among these was Antonio Stradivarius (1644-1737), whose praises have been sung by poets, and whose life was one of unwavering service. His first attempts were mere copies, but after he was equipped with his master's splendid legacy of tools and wood, his originality asserted itself. His "Golden" period was from 1700 to 1725, but he accomplished good work until death overtook him. From his bench were sent out some seven thousand instruments, including tenors and violoncellos. Of these perhaps two thousand were violins.

A romance encircling this master of Cremona tells that in youth he loved his master's daughter, but that failing to win her heart and hand, he gave himself wholly to his work. He married, finally, a wealthy widow whose means enabled him to pursue his avocation undisturbed by monetary anxieties. His labors steadily increased the family property until "as rich as Stradivarius" became a common saying in Cremona. Because of his achievements and his personal worth, he was held in high esteem. Members of royal families, prelates of the church, men of wealth and culture throughout Europe, were his personal friends as well as his clients. His handsome home, with his workshop and the roofshed where he stored his wood, was, until recently, exhibited to visitors. To-day not a vestige of it remains. Weary of the importunities of relic-seekers, the Cremonese have torn it down, and have banished violins and every reminder of them from the town.

The tone of a Stradivarius, in good condition, is round, full and exceedingly brilliant, and displays remarkable equality as the player passes from string to string. Dr. Joseph Joachim, owner of the famous Buda-Pesth Strad, writes of the maker that he "seems to have given his violins a soul that speaks and a heart that beats." The Tuscan Strad, one of a set ordered by Marquis Ariberti for the Prince of Tuscany, in 1690, was sold two hundred years later to Mr. Brandt by a London firm for L2,000. Lady Halle, court violinist to Queen Alexandra, owns the concert Strad of Ernst (1814-1865), composer of the celebrated Elegie, and values it at $10,000. A magnificent Stradivarius violin, with an exceedingly romantic history, belongs to Carl Gaertner, the veteran violinist and musician of Philadelphia, and could not be purchased at any price.

Another violin-builder from Nicolo Amati's workshop was Andrea Guarnerius (1630-1695), whose sons, Giuseppe and Pietro, followed in his footsteps. The family name reached its highest distinction in his nephew, Giuseppe (Joseph) Guarnerius (1683-1745), called del Gesu, because on his labels the initials I. H. S., surmounted by a Roman cross, were placed after his name, indicating that he belonged to a Jesuit society.

This Joseph of Cremona figures in story as a man of fascinating, restless personality, who for weeks would squander time and talents and then set to work with a zeal equalling that of Master Stradivarius. Tradition has it that he was once imprisoned for some bit of lawlessness, and was saved from despair by the jailor's daughter who brought him the tools and materials required for violin-building. What he esteemed the masterpiece of his lonely cell he presented as a souvenir to his gentle friend.

The violin about which this legend is woven, dated 1742, was bought by Ole Bull from the famous Tarisio collection, and is now the property of his son, Mr. Alexander Bull. It has an unusually rich, sonorous tone and splendid carrying powers. Similar qualities are attributed to the Paganini Guarnerius del Gesu, 1743, known as the "Canon" and kept under glass at the Genoa Museum. Mr. Hart, a violin authority, places highest in this make the "King Joseph," 1737, long in the private collections of Mr. Hawley, Hartford, Connecticut, and of Mr. Ralph Granger, Paradise Valley, California, and recently put on the market by Lyon & Healy, of Chicago.

An interesting Nicolo Amati pupil was Jacob Steiner (1621-1683), a Tyrolese, who, although bearing a glittering title, "violin maker to the Austrian Emperor," was harassed with financial perplexities and died insane. His most noted violins were the sixteen "Elector Steiners," one sent to each of the Electors and four to the Emperor. During his life the average price of his violins was six florins. A century after his death the Duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe's grandfather, paid 3,500 florins for one of them. It is also recorded that an American gentleman on La Fayette's staff, in the Revolutionary War, exchanged for a Steiner 1,500 acres of the tract where Pittsburg now stands. Mozart's violin, in the Mozarteum at Salzburg, is a Steiner.

Many violin-makers did good work in the past, many are achieving success to-day. It has been confidently asserted that the violin reached its highest possibilities in the old Brescian and Cremona days. Why should this be the case? The same well-defined principles, based on acoustics and other modern sciences, that have led to the steady improvement of other musical instruments ought surely to be of some advantage to the violin. Indeed, who knows but the day may come when the present will be considered its golden age.

While the men of Cremona were still fashioning their models the want of good strings was felt. This was met by Angelo Angelucci, known as the string-maker of Naples, a man who loved music and passed much time with violinists. Through his painstaking efforts such perfection was reached that Tartini, who was born the same year as he, 1692, could play his most difficult compositions two hundred times on the Angelucci strings, whereas he was continually interrupted by the snapping of others. Improvements in the bow, often called the tongue of the violin, are due to the house of Tourte, in Paris, in the eighteenth century, lightness, elasticity and spring coming to it from Francis Tourte, Jr.

Three eminent virtuosi, Corelli, Tartini and Viotti, whose united careers spanned a period of 150 years, prepared the way for modern methods of violin-playing. Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) left his home in Fusignano, near Bologna, a young violinist, for an extended concert tour. His gentle, sensitive disposition proving unfitted to cope with the jealousy of Lully, chief violinist in France, and with sundry annoyances in other lands, he returned to Italy and entered the service of Cardinal Ottoboni in Rome. In the private apartments of the prelate there gathered a choice company of music lovers every Monday afternoon to hear his latest compositions. Besides his solos these comprised groups of idealized dance tunes with harmony of mood for their bond of union, and played by two violins, a viola, violoncello and harpsichord. They were the parents of modern Chamber Music, the place of assemblage furnishing the name.

Refined taste and purity of tone, we are told, distinguished the playing of Corelli, and to him are attributed the systematization of bowing and the introduction of chord-playing. He heads the list of musicians who protest against talking where there is music. On one occasion when his patron was addressing some remarks to another person, he laid down his violin, and on being asked the reason said "he feared the music was disturbing the conversation." This did not prevent him from being held in the highest esteem. After his death Cardinal Ottoboni had a costly monument erected over his grave in the Pantheon, and for many years a solemn service, consisting of selections from his works, was performed there on the anniversary of his funeral.

It was during a period of retirement in the monastery of Assisi that Giuseppi Tartini (1692-1770) resolved to quit the law course in the University of Padua and seek a career with his violin. He became a great master of this, a composer of works still regarded as classics, and a scientific writer on musical physics. His letter to his pupil, Signora Maddelena Lombardini, contains invaluable advice on violin practice and study, especially on the use of the bow, and his treatise on the acoustic phenomenon known as "the third sound," together with his work on musical embellishments, may at any time be read with profit.

It was after hearing the eccentric violinist Veracini that His Satanic Majesty appeared to Tartini in a dream and played for him a violin solo surpassing in marvelous character anything that he had ever heard or imagined. Trying to write it down in the morning he produced his famous "Devil's Sonata," with its double shakes and sinister laugh, a favorite of the violinist, but to the composer ever inferior to the music of his dreams. It is rather curious that anything of a diabolic nature should be associated with this man of amiable and gentle disposition, whose care of his scholars, according to Dr. Burney, was constantly paternal. Nardini, his favorite and most famous pupil, came from Leghorn to Padua to attend him, with filial devotion, in his last illness.

The talents of Corelli and Tartini seem to have been combined in the Piedmontese, Giovanni Battiste Viotti (1753-1824), a man of poetic, philanthropic mind, whose sensitive, retiring disposition unfitted him for public life. Wherever he appeared he outshone all other performers, yet there was constantly something occurring to wound him. At the Court of Versailles he left the platform in disgust because the noisy entrance of a distinguished guest interrupted his concerto. In London, after his means had been crippled by the French Revolution, he was accused of political intrigue.

While living in seclusion near Hamburg he composed some of his finest works, among them six violin duets, which he prefaced with the words: "This work is the fruit of leisure afforded me by misfortune. Some of the pieces were dictated by trouble, others by hope." At one time he embarked in a mercantile enterprise, in London, his transactions being regulated by the strictest integrity, but, as was inevitable, he soon returned to Paris and his art. After he had abandoned the concert room one of his greatest pleasures was in improvising violin parts to the piano performances of his friend, Madame Montegerault, to the delight of all present. He never had more than seven or eight pupils, but his influence has been widely felt. Many anecdotes are told of his kindness and generosity, and it is an interesting fact that among those who sought his advice and patronage was no less a personage than Rossini.

It must be because genius is little understood that its manifestations have so often been attributed to evil influences. The popular mind could only explain the achievements of the Genoese wizard of the bow, Nicolo Paganini (1784-1840) by the belief that he had sold himself body and soul to the devil who stood ever at his elbow when he played. When, after a taxing concert season, the weary violinist retired to a Swiss monastery for rest and practice amid peaceful surroundings, rumor had it that he was imprisoned for some dark deed. To crown the delusion, his spectre was long supposed to stalk abroad, giving fantastic performances on the violin. It is his apparition Gilbert Parker conjures up in "The Tall Master."

Paganini is described as a man of tall, gaunt figure, melancholy countenance and highly wrought nervous temperament. His successors have all profited by his development of the violin's resources, the result of combined genius and labor. He was practically a pioneer in the effective use of chords, arpeggio passages, octaves and tenths, double and triple harmonics and succession of harmonics in thirds and in sixths. His long fingers were of invaluable service to him in unusual stretches, and his fondness for pizzicato passages may be traced to his familiarity with the twang of his father's mandolin. He shone chiefly in his own compositions, which were written in keys best suited to the violin. Students will find all that he knew of his instrument and everything he did in his Le Stregghe (The Witches), the Rondo de la Clochette, and the Carnaval de Venise, which have been handed down precisely as he left them in manuscript.

Signora Calcagno, who at one time dazzled Italy by the boldness and brilliancy of her violin playing, was his pupil when she was seven years old. The only other person who could boast having direct instructions from him was his young fellow townsman, Camillo Ernesto Sivori (1815-1894), who was in his day a great celebrity in European musical centres, and who was familiar to concert-goers in this country, especially in Boston, during the late forties and early fifties. He was thought to produce a small but electric tone, and to play invariably in tune. To him his master willed his Stradivarius violin, besides having given him in life the famous Vuillaume copy of his Guarnerius, a set of manuscript violin studies and a high artistic ideal.

A scholarly teacher and composer for the violin was the German Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859), who was born the same year as the wizard Paganini, and who, although having less scintillant genius than the weird Italian, is believed to have had a more beneficent influence over violin playing in his treatment of the instrument. He set an example of purity of style and roundness of tone, and raised the violin concerto to its present dignity. His violin school is a standard work.

From the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present time the lists of excellent violinists have rapidly increased and heights of technical skill have been reached by many that would have dazzled early violin masters. The special tendencies of gifted leaders have divided players into defined schools. Among noted exponents of the French school may be mentioned Alard and his pupil Sarasate, Dancla and Sauret. Charles August de Beriot (1802-1870) was the actual founder of the Belgian school whose famous members include the names of Vieuxtemps, Leonard, Wieniawski, Thomson and Ysaye. Ferdinand David (1810-1873), first head of the violin department at the Leipsic Conservatory, gave impulse to the German school. Among his famous pupils are Dr. Joseph Joachim, known as one of the musical giants of the nineteenth century; August Wilhelmj, the favorite of Wagner, and Carl Gaertner, who, with his violin has done so much to cultivate a taste for classical music in Philadelphia. Among the many lady violinists who have attained a high degree of excellence are Madame Norman Neruda, now Lady Halle, Teresina Tua, Camilla Urso, Geraldine Morgan, Maud Powell and Leonora Jackson.

The only violinist whose memory was ever honored with public monuments was Ole Bull (1810-1880), who has been called the Paganini of the North. Two statues of him have been unveiled by his countrymen, one in his native city, Bergen, Norway, and one in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These tributes have been paid not so much to the violinist who swayed the emotions of an audience and who could sing a melody on his instrument into the hearts of his hearers, as to the patriot, the man who turned the eyes of the world to his sturdy little fatherland, and who gave the strongest impulse for everything it has accomplished in the past half century in art and in literature. Another patriot violinist was the Hungarian Eduard Remenyi (1830-1898), who first introduced Johannes Brahms to Liszt, and should always be remembered as the discoverer of Brahms.

The great demand of the day in the violin field, as in that of other musical instruments, is for dazzling pyrotechnic feats. It has perhaps reached its climax in the young Bohemian Jan Kubelik, whose playing has been pronounced technically stupendous. In the mad rush for advanced technique, the soul of music it is meant to convey is, alas, too often forgotten.


Queens of Song

Our first queen of song was Vittoria Archilei, that Florentine lady of noble birth who labored faithfully with the famous "Academy" to discover the secret of the Greek drama. It was she who furthered the success of the embryo operas of Emilio del Cavalieri, late in the sixteenth century, and roused enthusiasm by her splendid interpretation for Jacopo Peri's "Eurydice," the first opera presented to the public. She was called "Euterpe" by her Italian contemporaries because her superb voice, artistic skill, musical fire and intelligence fitted her to be the muse of music. Her memory has been too little honored.

When Lully was giving opera to France he secured the co-operation of Marthe le Rochois, a gifted student of declamation and song at the Paris Academie Royale de Musique, for whose establishment he had obtained letters patent in 1672. So great was his confidence in her judgment that he consulted her in all that pertained to his work. Her greatest public triumph was in his "Armide." This earliest French queen of song is described as a brunette, with mediocre figure and plain face, who had wonderful magnetism and sparkling black eyes that mirrored the changeful sentiments of an impassioned soul. Her acting and voice-control were pronounced remarkable. Her superior powers, unspoiled simplicity, frankness and generosity are extolled by that quaint historian of the opera, Dury de Noinville. On her retirement from the stage, in 1697, the king awarded her a pension of 1,000 livres in token of appreciation, and to this the Duc de Sully added 500 livres. She died in Paris in the seventieth year of her age, her home having long been the resort of eminent artists and literary people.

Katherine Tofts, who made her debut in Clayton's "Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus," about 1702, was the first dramatic songstress of English birth, and is described by Colley Cibber as a beautiful woman with a clear, silvery-toned, flexible soprano. Her professional career brought her fortune as well as fame, but was short-lived. In the height of her bloom her reason gave way, and although judicious treatment restored it for a time, she did not return to the stage. As the wife of Mr. Joseph Smith, art connoisseur and collector of rare books and prints, she went to Venice, where her husband was British Consul, and lived in much state until, her malady returning, it became necessary to seclude her. Wandering through the garden of her home she fancied herself the queen of former days. Steele, in the "Tattler," attributes her disorder to her stage habit of absorbing herself in imaginary great personages.

While Mrs. Tofts reigned in Clayton's opera, Signora Francesca Margarita de l'Epine, a native of Tuscany, sang Italian airs before and after it. Tall, swarthy, brusque in manner, she had a voice and a style that made her famous. It was she who inaugurated the custom of giving farewell concerts. Meeting with brilliant success at a performance announced as her last appearance, "she continued," says Dr. Burney, "to sing more last and positively last times and never left England at all." There was a rivalry between the two queens of song, which being a novelty, furnished gossip and laughter for all London. Hughes, that "agreeable poet," wrote of it:

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